Eloisa Ojeda Limón was with only two people — one of her eight children and a caregiver — when she unexpectedly passed away in her sleep Monday.
But as news of her death spread, about 200 people came to her East Austin house throughout the day to pay their respects, family members said.
Limón was the matriarch of one of Austin’s oldest and most prominent families. She was 103.
Family members — along with friends who also called her Grandma — gathered at her house Monday and Tuesday to remember the woman who had been a part of their lives, for many of them since birth.
Limón was the eldest member of her family, who originally settled in Austin in the 1890s. To this day, the Limón family reunions fill Webberville Park in eastern Travis County every October.
In the 1960s, the Limóns moved to the street now known as Calle Limon, which was later renamed in their honor. Nowadays, several Limóns live in different houses along the street. Unsurprisingly, the family’s motto is “siempre unidos” — “always united” in Spanish.
Limón delivered eight boys and four girls. One girl died in infancy, another in a car crash, and two sons died recently as adults. Of her eight remaining children, the youngest, Virgil Limón, is in his 60s. She had 32 grandchildren, 68 great-grandchildren, and 18 great-great-grandchildren.
Many of her children, most of them now in their 70s and 80s, teared up while talking about her.
“She was always greeting everyone, always doing something for them, always moving around,” said Johnny Limón, who lived with her, took care of her and was with her when she died.
On Tuesday, half a dozen people at the house spoke fondly of the foot-high stack of tortillas she would always make for her family and their friends.
“She was a quiet warrior,” caring for so many people for so many years, said her grandson Lonnie Limón. “It sounds corny, but she was kind of a sweet angel for us. She never said anything negative about anyone. She always smiled at the right times, laughed at the right times.”
Although she took care of a dozen family members after her children were grown, Eloisa Limón would occasionally volunteer in the newborn section at Brackenridge Medical Center or in the kitchen at Seton Medical Center.
Limón often enjoyed telling her family stories of her childhood, such as taking a horse-drawn carriage from Caldwell County into Austin or wearing so-called “please don’t rain” hats made of straw that would curl up if they got wet.
Funeral arrangements have been set for Saturday. A viewing begins at 5 p.m. Friday at St. Julia Catholic Church, 3010 Lyons Road, and the rosary begins at 7 p.m. The funeral will be held at noon Saturday at St. Julia Catholic Church, and the interment will be at Assumption Cemetery, located at 3650 S. Interstate 35.
“We are sad, but I think we were so glad to have her for so many years,” said her daughter-in-law, Yolanda Aleman-Limón.